What Is A Crossbow? – Insight To Modern Crossbow
(Last Updated On: January 29, 2018)

If you are new to the crossbow world you will have arrived at this publication seeking information about them and we agree with you because you can never have too much knowledge about anything. To cater to our readers we will provide everything there is to know about crossbows, from safety instructions to things that you should consider in a crossbow according to your requirements. Everything has a starting point and the starting point for your crossbow journey is this article, you should know what a modern crossbow is and what kinds of modern crossbow will you encounter when you jump right into owning one.

Insight Into Modern Crossbow

Crossbows that are available to us are nothing like the ones used hundreds of years ago, the concept is the same you get a firing device which fires an arrow towards the target. The inclusion of modern technology in developing these crossbows has allowed for them to perform on a dedicated purpose. For example a crossbow used in the crossbow sports cannot be used for hunting purposes. This points out that each crossbow is enhanced to work for a single purpose. As you go along in your crossbow research you will find some hunting crossbows which are built for manoeuvrability and they lack on power and the crossbows which are powerful are not the best when it comes to agility. Enhancing single aspect of a crossbow caters to the special enthusiast audience and provide variety in the manufacturer’s model inventory.

A few centuries back crossbows that were available at the time were used as primary weapons of warfare along with swords but that changed when gunpowder based weapons proved to be very powerful against the crossbows. Those crossbows were not built very good either compared to today’s standards which is understandable because there was lack of technology available today. Modern crossbows are built tough and very easy to use comparing them to the original crossbows, the crossbows available to us today are lighter and have features which were not available on the original crossbows.

These features allow the modern crossbows to be customized when it comes to stocks and scopes to improve on the accuracy and shooting power of the crossbows over the time. Latest manufacturing technology and new light weight and strong materials used for manufacturing the crossbows today has eliminated the slow and heavy factors of the previous crossbows. With all the technology used to manufacture modern crossbows they are still in essence a bow and a string used to fire an arrow. This is the very reason because of which these weapons are being called crossbows with a lot of variations of course.

Types of Crossbows

When it comes to crossbow you will encounter different variants of these weapons which are classified within three categories.

  • Compound Crossbows
  • Reverse Compound Crossbows
  • Recurve Crossbows

We will explain each of the categories of the crossbows mentioned above along with how they are better for you and can you adapt to these crossbows according to your skill level.

Compound Crossbow

A compound crossbow is basically a combination of few moving parts most of which are pulleys.Compound Crossbow These pulleys help the user of crossbow to draw the string to the latch of the crossbow. This process is called cocking the crossbow. This position is the equivalent of a cocked gun which means the crossbow is ready to fire the arrow at just trigger’s pull. The pulleys in the compound crossbow are there to reduce the draw weight of the crossbow so that user can easily cock the crossbow without putting too much effort. The ends of the limbs of the compound crossbows are also bent and pointed towards the user making them less wide which results in better manoeuvrability in tight spaces.

The downside to owning a compound crossbow is that due to multiple moving parts, necessity of a bow press to fix a broken string will take a lot of time because you can’t carry a bow press with you out there hunting. The use of the compound crossbow is also very noisy due to those multiple moving parts. There are certain add-ons available in the market which can be installed on compound crossbows to reduce the noise but in it’s stock condition the compound crossbows are noisy when operating them.

Reverse Compound Crossbow

Reverse compound crossbow technology is a relatively new one and has a very unique design.Reverse Compound Crossbow The design is not very different from the compound crossbows but one major tweak from the compound crossbow design has led to improved performance in the reverse compound crossbows. That major change is with the limbs, the ends of the limbs of the reverse compound crossbows are pointed away from the user and the limbs themselves are also placed closer to the trigger moving the center of gravity at the back end of the crossbow which was at the front of the compound crossbows.

The center of gravity moved towards the back of the reversed compound crossbow means that it is easier to handle and can prove to be more accurate. The position of the limbs have allowed for the reverse compound crossbows to be more narrower than the compound crossbows and the speed at which the arrow travels from a reverse compound crossbow is also greater because of the increased time of contact of the string with the arrow.

Recurve Crossbow

The recurve crossbows are the simplest of the lot and their mechanism resembles a lot to the crossbows used centuries ago.Recurve Crossbow They are lighter than the reverse compound and compound crossbows and also have longer draw length compared to the other two. These crossbows are very light in weight and are easier to carry around. To increase it’s performance there are added features such as scopes and stabilization mechanism making it more effective.

Cocking the recurve crossbow is a hefty task and require long arms to do so. There are no pulleys and cams on these crossbows so the draw weight on these crossbows is high. There are mechanical aids such as rope cockers available to aid you in cocking these crossbows.

Recurve crossbows are easier to maintain and are quieter compared to the compound and reverse compound crossbows because of less moving parts. Recurve crossbows perfect for the users who are starting with crossbows or don’t want to get their hands dirty on mechanics of crossbow as there are very few things that needs maintaining on these crossbows.

Why Use a Crossbow Today?

Even though the days of crossbow being a war weapon has been long gone, there are still uses of crossbows out there in today’s world mainly among enthusiasts. So what kinds of uses are there when it comes to crossbows? Let’s get into that.


Recent times have witnessed a rise in use of crossbows for hunting purpose. Throughout time we all know that crossbows have been used for hunting but in modern times it’s only been a decade or so in which modern time hunter has been associated with crossbows widely. There are a lot of firearms available which can be used to hunt but the only explanation we can find of preferring a crossbow over a firearm is the sentimental value and the adrenaline it gives to the hunter.


Crossbows are being used for sports activities such as target shooting and there are international competitions held for crossbow sport as well.


The military use of crossbows as a primary assault weapon has been eliminated but there are certain situations in which military still use crossbows such as developing zip lines in difficult terrains and using it as a non lethal weapon during any kind of unrest and riot.

Other Uses

Marine Researchers use crossbows to tag marine creatures with tracking equipment or monitoring equipment to aid in their researches. Even though crossbows can be converted into non lethal weapons but there are still rules and laws in some countries which prohibit the use of crossbows even the non lethal ones on marine life.

Read More:

Leave a Comment